As Milan Fashion Week drew to a close, Vogue‘s editorial team penned a roundtable discussion looking back on the week’s events. The industry veterans reflected on the Italian fashion capital’s biggest collections and trends, as you’d expect, but the conversation quickly turned nasty, with barbed words aimed at the many bloggers who attend fashion weeks these days.

Over a few thousand words, writers for the 123-year old publication managed to call bloggers “pathetic,” “embarrassing,” “sad,” and, most patronizing of all, suggest that they “find another business.” They were especially disparaging of the street style scene and bloggers’ practice of wearing “paid-for” outfits. What the mag’s various writers and editors failed to mention, however, is how Vogue‘s own editorial practice is pretty much exactly the same.

Here’s a quick rundown of the mag’s most scathing — and hypocritical — comments. Head over to Vogue to read the piece in full.

“Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.”

Sally Singer

Strong words from Vogue‘s Creative Digital Director. Basically, brands will routinely pay bloggers to wear their pieces to shows, as they’re pretty much guaranteed to get snapped by street style photographers. The practice is much more common than you’d think, as it’s a handy way for labels to reach a large audience — just think of all that Instagram exposure — and it helps bloggers pay their bills, too.

“It’s not just sad for the women who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes, it’s distressing, as well, to watch so many brands participate.”

Nicole Phelps

What Nicole Phelps and her colleagues forget to mention is that Vogue, and every other fashion magazine under the sun, packs its editorials with free inclusions from advertisers. So if a brand spends serious money advertising with the mag, then it’s assumed that its clothing will be getting a lot of additional exposure in the publication’s editorials. Pretty much the same as what bloggers are doing, then…

“the professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible, but most of all, pathetic for these girls, when you watch how many times the desperate troll up and down outside shows, in traffic, risking accidents even, in hopes of being snapped.”

Sarah Mower

Oh, and if street style photographers are so awful, maybe Vogue should think twice about running Phil Oh’s near-constant fashion week photo reports?

“Rather than a celebration of any actual style, it seems to be all about turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching in your seat as you check your social media feeds, fleeing, changing, repeating . . . It’s all pretty embarrassing—even more so when you consider what else is going on in the world.”

Alessandra Codinha

This is where things get really, really high-and-mighty. Is Vogue producing hard-hitting political analysis? Contemplating the roots of Donald Trump’s rise in America or the racism sweeping across Europe? Of course it isn’t, it’s a fashion magazine. Why bring politics into this?

Susie Lau (aka @susiebubble) and Bryan Yambao (aka @bryanboy), two of the industry’s biggest bloggers, quite rightly went on the counter-attack, quickly pointing out the mag’s hypocrisy.

Vogue‘s condescending, close-minded attitude is completely out of touch with the way things work these days. Bloggers make money in the same way that magazines do — by leveraging their influence in exchange for money from brands. What’s the difference between being paid to wear someone’s clothes and being paid to use them in a photo shoot? Absolutely nothing.

Fashion is a notoriously closed-off industry, but the internet has, to some extent at least, hugely democratized it. Social media has allowed people who would normally be excluded from the inner circle — aka bloggers — to join the conversation. Vogue‘s catty, totally unnecessary comments just sound like a desperate attempt to claw back a bit of influence. “The fashion establishment don’t want their circles enlarged,” Susie Lau argued on Twitter. “And for the ivory tower to remain forever that. Towering and impenetrable.” Sums it up, really.

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.

Words by Alec Leach
Digital Fashion Editor

Alec Leach grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives in Berlin, where he leads Highsnobiety's digital fashion content.

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